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Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Computer forensics training and education issues. If you are looking for topic suggestions for your project, thesis or dissertation please post here rather than the general discussion forum.
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Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:07 pm

Hi there,

I'm a complete noob to digital forensics, but after being intrigued and doing a bit of reading, and with an undergrad in Criminology and looking to retrain in to a specialist area, I submitted a last minute application to study an MSc in Forensic Computing at Coventry for this year.

I have been accepted, and will start in 2 weeks.

Having applied on a bit of a whim, it now seems real and possible and having done reserch I'm really excited about the opportunity.

However, I know very little and would like to find out more information about the subject as I have no computing background.

Has anyone here studied or is studying Forensic Computing?

The modules excite me but will I need a computing background?

How intense is the MSc likely to be? (I have a part-time job on evening and weekends of 20 hours per week)

I intend to do my Dissertation as a placement, but with that little work-experience are there many employment opportunities? Most jobs on here seem to require experience!

Some information would be great.

Regards,

Joe.  

JoeFord
Newbie
 
 
  

Re: Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:28 pm

In summary - I'm basically concerned that I have no computing background at all. I've read up on what the subject is, and I'm interested. But is a MSc a little too much of a jump when I know nothing about coding/programming etc?

The modules are taught and will cover:

Forensic Computing Methods (double);
Network and Mobile Forensics (double);
Internet and Information Security (double);
Ethical Hacking  

JoeFord
Newbie
 
 
  

Re: Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:27 pm

- JoeFord
In summary - I'm basically concerned that I have no computing background at all. I've read up on what the subject is, and I'm interested. But is a MSc a little too much of a jump when I know nothing about coding/programming etc?

Computing background (or lack thereof) is not equivalent to being able to code/program.
A number of professionals that are members here are not actually coders/programmers, of course you might need some basics in computer usage and working but maybe you already have those basics or however you can acquire them by reading a couple good books.

The actual needs (stated prerequisites) for that course - if I get it right it is this one:
www.coventry.ac.uk/cou...uting-msc/
don't seem like very stringent or technical only.

According to the above "what you will learn":

This course will provide you with a sound understanding of essential hardware and software systems, formats, protocols and standards. There is coverage of essential legislation relating to all aspects of computer-based information.

The central focus of the programme will be an in-depth coverage of the available tools and techniques investigating different types of computer-based information sources.

the "sound understanding of essential ..." is what you will be taught, not something that you should already be familiar with.

Maybe you will have some difficulty/need of additional study on the more technical part, but maybe you will have an advantage when it comes to the part related to legislation.

jaclaz
_________________
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 

jaclaz
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:04 pm

Thank you. It was a late application, so I missed any open days etc. but I do feel anxious/unsure about it as it's a lot of money and unknown.

There seems to plenty of employment opportunity afterwards.

Would I be able to ask you to recommend any reading? So I can have a read before I make my final decision.  

JoeFord
Newbie
 
 
  

Re: Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Post Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:20 pm

- JoeFord
Thank you. It was a late application, so I missed any open days etc. but I do feel anxious/unsure about it as it's a lot of money and unknown.

There seems to plenty of employment opportunity afterwards.

I don't know.
While I am an optimist about your capability to follow the course, I wouldn't be as much optimist about employment opportunities (at least not immediately after the course).

Judging from what is posted on the job offers section people most looked for are (non-existing) people with several years of experience, deep knowledge of all operating systems, having all public and private certifications, only a tadbit short of a lawyer when it comes to knowledge of Law, capable of working both independently and as a leader of a team, etc.

I.e. what you may (partially only) become after 5 to 10 years of experience in the field.

See also for a quick laugh:
www.forensicfocus.com/...c/t=13579/

The Catch 22 is evident, the number of "entry level" offers (people just coming out of UNI) is very small seemingly.

- JoeFord


Would I be able to ask you to recommend any reading? So I can have a read before I make my final decision.

You surely are able to ask (you just did Wink ) but reading about what?
Attempting a crash course on PC/OS basics?
Why don' t you quickly peruse these simple courses/tutorials here:
www.gcflearnfree.org/
www.gcflearnfree.org/t...echnology/

A nice introductory book is IMHO "How computers work" by Ron White, but maybe it is too basic. Confused

jaclaz
_________________
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 

jaclaz
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Complete noob - MSc Forensic Computing questions

Post Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:27 pm

Best of luck with your studies ! It is a very interesting and exciting field - I can't recommend it highly enough.

My experience of both being an MSc student and teaching MSc students is that the expectation of prior knowledge is pretty low, and the expectation of ability to learn is pretty high Wink

There are other book lists in other places on the forums that you might find useful, but more than anything I would recommend being prepared to "play" with machines / virtual machines to get to grips with their configuration and the way that they work - try out Windows and Linux machines ( and, when you are feeling OK with those, try Solaris and BSD & maybe macOS - it is theoretically possible to run it in a VM [ and is an exercise in computing in it's own right ! ] )

Like all skills for all students it's a matter of exposure and practice as much as anything else, and nothing beats hands on !

If you want to chat at any point during your course, DM me.

Azrael
_________________
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Azrael
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azrael
Senior Member
 
 

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